Updated: Jul 23, 2018
All outward appearances of this foot (mine, by the way), suggest it has perfectly normal alignment and arch height, and it does...WHEN NO WEIGHT IS APPLIED.
But look what happens when I stand on it on the hardwood floor - the arch has collapsed! Is this a problem? If I'm going to be active on my feet for any significant period of time on hard surfaces without appropriate support under my foot, it certainly is! I, as have many of my clients, learned this the hard way - by suffering from foot, arch, heel, ankle, knee, hip, and low back pain.
The foot was made to spread and change shape to many different alignments to allow it to adapt to the many types of surfaces nature has created: hard, soft, even, and uneven, but unfortunately, we now spend most of our time on just one type - hard and flat.
The fact that the arch and foot spread to their worst alignment on hard surfaces isn't the problem - the problem is that we are constantly on hard surfaces, transmitting significant amounts of excessive stress through the structures of the foot, including the nerves, tendons, ligaments, joints, and bones. Man has created this artificial world of hard surfaces to walk and exercise on that we cannot escape, and as a consequence, our feet and often ankles, legs, knees, hips, and back can suffer, leading to conditions such as plantar fasciitis, bursitis, Morton's neuroma, metatarsalgia, bunions, hammer toes, hallux limitus, hallux ridigus, osteoarthritis in the feet, ankles, knees, hips, and back, stress fractures, shin splints, posterior tibial, Achilles tendinitis, tarsal tunnel syndrome, and others.
What is the answer to this problem? We need to protect our feet from the damaging effects of over-exposure to hard surfaces. How can we best do this? By wearing footwear that fits properly, provides adequate support and cushioning, and, for many people, by wearing appropriately supportive orthotics in the footwear to maintain good alignment and distribute pressure evenly under the foot when standing, walking, or running. Often, this requires well-made custom orthotics that are both contoured to our best foot alignment, and can resist deviation out of that alignment when the impact forces of walking and running, which are several times our body weight, are transfered from our feet onto the orthotics.
Unfortunately, many pre-made arch supports, like these, and even not-so well made custom orthotics fail to deliver, as they either don't match the foot contours very well, or don't maintain good alignment of the foot when our weight is applied.
The orthotics we make, as seen below, are precisely built from impressions taken of the foot in it's best alignment, and are calibrated to give appropriate support based on the individual's weight, amount of foot flexibility, gait, and activity level. This allows our orthotics to maintain good foot alignment at all times, which can help resolve the symptoms and deter the progression of structural damage and deformity of the conditions described above.